APP: Chapter 1

12 years ago, Qingyan City.

Late in the summer, the sound of heavy rain overshadowed the swearing from the abandoned factory.

“Fu*king thing! This damn motherf**ker actually said he didn’t care about his son’s life and wouldn’t give any money. Then he hung up!”

The kidnapper was so angry that he smashed his phone.

“What?” His companion was shocked and stood up. “We don’t want much. His son’s life isn’t worth five million?  Their family is so rich…”

“Ghost fu*king knows! The kidnapper spat out and he looked at his companion in a terrible manner. “Are you sure it’s his son Xie Chi?”

“It is him! It’s true!”

“In that case…” The kidnapper looked at the iron cage hidden in the darkness and sneered. “Your parents don’t want to give money for you so don’t blame us for being rude!”

There was a flash of lightning that lit up the dark factory, shining on a cold knife in the kidnapper’s hand and on the small Xie Chi in the cage.

The small Xie Chi was wearing a white school uniform. His face was clean and his temperament was very gentle at a young age. Yet half his face hidden in the darkness was very gloomy and violence spread quietly in his pupils.

The lightning passed and the factory became completely dark again. However, the companion noticed Xie Chi’s expression in the lightning just now and his heart inexplicably felt a bit creeped out.

The kidnapper saw that Xie Chi was silent and chuckled. “The children of rich people are different. They are quite brave, right? You have a bad temper and I can’t wait to play with you to die…”

As he spoke, he was undoing the chains around the iron cage that was thicker than his fingers.

His companion hesitantly grabbed him. “Boss, I think that this child is a bit wrong. How about we let him die on his own? In any case, if we shut him in here for a few days then he will probably die…”

The kidnapper kicked him away. “Trash! You’re even afraid of a child. What can he—”

A pair of beautiful, slender hands suddenly grabbed the kidnapper’s wrist. There was another burst of lightning and the kidnapper saw Xie Chi show him a cold and malicious smile.

***

A few days later, someone called the police and said there was a suspicious odor coming from an abandoned factory in the suburbs. They looked through the window and could see black hair on the ground.

The police arrived. It was summer and the dead bodies had already decayed and become a feast for flies and mosquitoes. The scene was simply unbearable.

The police discovered that the two men were major criminals they had been pursuing, but had died here for some reason.

There was an open iron cage next to the bodies and signs of a slight struggle at the scene. Given that the two of them had repeatedly kidnapped others and this had the same style, the truth seemed self-evident.

The two people kidnapped someone and their hostage killed them. Curiously, there was no identity of the hostage left at the scene, such as fingerprints or DNA. The kidnappers’ phones also appeared to have been taken away by the hostage.

There was nothing to discover and the case was finally closed. It became a joke at the time and the two of them became the ‘most disgraced kidnappers in history.’

***

12 years later, the Qingyan City Art Exhibition Building.

The female host stood in front of a horror painting and spoke to the audience in the live studio. “I’m a now at the exhibition of your favourite Xie Chi. This Up Master is timid and I really sacrificed so much to come and see the horror painting for you! Shouldn’t there be a wave of small gifts?”

The barrage passed by quickly.

[Are you here to see a horror painting? You’re here to see the face. Superficial!]

[We’re all shallow women.]

[Don’t bring me into it. I  saw the previous ‘Ghost Skin’ and couldn’t sleep for a night. I’m here looking for abuse again.]

[I’m new here. I want to ask if the person who painted the horror painting is psychologically abnormal?]

[What nonsense! My husband is super gentle and polite! He is so good-tempered and loves to smile!]

[Sisters, let’s be honest. How many of you are here due to that previous video of our Chi?

The UP Master saw the last one and her eyes showed envy. It was really too simple to call Xie Chi hot.

Previously, a video of Xie Chi painting was circulated online. The young man with clear and gentle eyes painted a terrible horror painting. The lifelike ghost on the canvas showed sharp fangs like it was going to bite off the beautiful and slender hand in the next second.

It was like the contrast between the beauty and the beast. It gave a great visual impact and was unforgettable. There were countless inquisitive people and the horror painter Xie Chi became famous overnight.

***

At the same time, in the private lounge of the exhibition building, Xie Chi approached the sofa next to the floor to ceiling window while carrying water.

The old man sitting on the sofa was called Jiang Hua. He was a world-renowned psychologist before retiring and had just returned to China in the last two days. Due to Xie Chi’s split personality, he had maintained communication with Xie Chi for 12 years.

Xie Chi handed the water to Jiang Hua and sat on the sofa opposite him, smiling sincerely. “I heard that you aren’t sleeping well so I didn’t give you tea. I added some lily to help you sleep.”

Jiang Hua looked at the lily in the water and couldn’t help giving the other person a look. “You don’t have to make a central air conditioning for me.”

After all, Jiang Hua had seen Xie Chi’s secondary personality and knew what type of demon was hiding under this gentle face. The social personality in front of him was just the surface and there was a lunatic underneath.

Xie Chi glanced at him lazily and laughed. “There is still some value in using you.”

Jiang Hua froze.

Xie Chi waved his hands. “I will stop talking nonsense. I have found a way to separate myself from Xinglan.”

Xie Xinglan, Xie Chi’s secondary personality.

Jiang Hua raised his head with shock, thinking that he had misunderstood. “When you say separate…”

“It is exactly what you are thinking.” Xie Chi smiled and clearly articulated his words. “I will let Xie Xinglan get a body and separate from me.”

Jiang Hua’s face was filled with disbelief. “How is that possible?”

It was easy for a personality to disappear but separating… it was impossible. Jiang Hua had never heard of it in his 30~40 years of working.

Xie Chi took out a thick pile of information from under the coffee table and handed it to Jiang Hua. Jiang Hua took it in a daze.

The top of the materials read:

[Zhou, male, advanced lung cancer, went home to recuperate.

In June this year, he suddenly disappeared from his home and his family was anxiously searching for him.

Five days later, Zhou suddenly returned home and his family had a meal to celebrate. However, Zhou was hit by a crystal lamp that accidentally fell on top of the dining table and died.

A later investigation revealed the many screws used to fix the crystal lamp in place had all fallen off.]

The second one:

[Huang, female, full-time wife. Too many abortions in her early years meant she was unable to have children. The relationship between husband and wife and mother-in-law and daughter-in-law wasn’t good.

After going out to buy vegetables in mid-May this year, she disappeared from the world and reappeared at the gate of her community four days later. Then she was killed by the dog in the security room who suddenly went crazy.

The weird thing was… the dog stopped being crazy after killing her.]

The third, the fourth…

Jiang Hua looked down and only felt alarmed. These were such strange and unbelievable accidental deaths. Jiang Hua couldn’t help glancing at Xie Chi. Then Xie Chi had been investigating these things in recent years?

Xie Chi took a sip of water and said, “99% of this pile are about the ‘accidents’.”

He spoke very lightly and casually but Jiang Hua felt the weight of the data. it was like invisible hair was wrapped around his neck, slowly tightening and depriving him of oxygen. Jiang Hua’s lips became dry and he couldn’t help asking, “You said 99%. Then the remaining 1%…”

Xie Chi glanced at him and smiled meaningfully, “They are the inexplicable winners of life.”

Jiang Hua was surprised. “Inexplicable?”

Xie Chi leaned over, looked at the page numbers on the lower right corner of the documents and pulled out several pieces of paper, handing them to Jiang Hua.

The first sheet of paper said:

[Gao, female, cosmetic surgery had failed. She hopelessly tried to repair her face with medical technology for 10 years.

Gao disappeared in April of this year. She returned half a month later and not only were the terrible scars on her face fully recovered, she was also beautiful to the point where people couldn’t recognize her.]

Jiang Hua flipped through the pages at incredible speed. All of them were like this. At first, they were desperate for something that wasn’t possible. Then they disappeared for a while and after returning, their strange dream came true. A poor person became rich overnight and those who were blind regained their sight. Even a person who was already one step in the coffin survived…

“How can this be…” Jiang Hua muttered.

Xie Chi asked with a smile. “Have you found that these people have… something in common?”

The last three words lingered on Xie Chi’s lips for a moment, making them more intriguing.

Jiang Hua mused on it for a moment before replying in a sober manner. “They all have unfulfilled wishes. For example, the late-stage cancer patient wanted to survive, the full-time wife wanted to get pregnant…”

“They go missing for a while and when they come back, they either die or have a beautiful life…”

Xie Chi nodded and quietly looked at the floor to ceiling window at the white-collar workers coming in and out of the opposite building.  They had delicate makeup on, bright clothes and warm smiled. They were a group of gold and jade.

Xie Chi watched for a while before sneering and speaking indifferently, “No matter how perfect, people have desires. There is something they want but can temporarily or never get.”

“Some people choose to suppress this and become contented saints. Some people let it go, some hope to be remote, some are destroyed in the unending pursuit and some live forever.”

“Thus, there is a mysterious force in the world that specializes in selecting people who are unwilling to give up, trading with them.”

“The advanced stage cancer person and the full-time wife belongs to this category of people. One wants to live and push the limits of medicine, the other wants to have children and make up for the mistakes of the past.

“The content of the transaction is content. Nothing was found during my investigation. People will disappear for a while and the result of the transaction is as you can see—”

Xie Chi stated quietly, “The loser will die and the winner will get what they want.”

Jiang Hua was shocked. Xie Chi’s words subverted his three views and it took him a long time to find his voice. “Then the method you mentioned to let you and Xie Xinglan separate…”

The answer was clear but Jiang Hua couldn’t say it for a moment. Xie Chi gave him a deep look and spoke the answer in this person’s heart with a smile, “Then ‘it’ will certainly find me.”

Jiang Hua was instantly enchanted.

Yes, Xie Chi also had a wish that couldn’t be reached and a heart that wasn’t willing to give up. Why else would he investigate these things?

Xie Chi took a cloth out of his shirt pocket, took off his glasses, wiped it and smiled helplessly. “I have been waiting a long time.”

Jiang Hua called him a madman. What others couldn’t avoid, Xie Chi had been looking forward to day and night.

Xie Chi told him, “I said so much because if I suddenly disappear one day, I want you to help me take care of the trivial things.”

Jiang Hua’s mood was complicated. After a while, he barely managed to digest Xie Chi’s words. He gazed at Xie Chi surrounded by light and inexplicably had the strong premonition that Xie Chi would soon disappear.

This could be considered a benevolent thing.

Thinking of this, Jiang Hua felt a bit relaxed and asked a question he had wanted to know for the past two years but was too embarrassed to ask. “That, in the end, what is the relationship between you and Xie Xinglan?”

He always felt there was something indescribably about these two people. This idea only deepened every time he saw Xie Xinglan. Xie Xinglan was always cold but when he talked about Xie Chi, he changed… he seemed to give off an elderly air that Jiang Hua found hard to distinguish.

Xie Chi paused and seemed to be considering the right words. After a long time, he looked up and smiled strangely. “…A roommate relationship.”

Jiang Hua was stunned before being amused. “You’re right. It is a ‘roommate’ relationship.”

Living in the same body could be considered an alternative type of roommate relationship.

***

Before going to bed that night, Xie Chi was processing his phone’s information as usual when he found there was a software in the phone’s background. The name of the software was Horror Movie Actor.

A junk software? Xie Chi frowned and clicked to pause the download and delete it but it didn’t respond. The software was completely installed at this time and it started automatically. The next second, the screen of his phone suddenly became scarlet and black words in the centre jumped in agitation like the devil’s temptation.

[Xie Chi, do you have a wish to fulfill? Choose one or more below.]

Xie Chi saw the word ‘wish’ and his hand trembled. Was this… ‘it’?

A few options popped up on the screen. The first one was:

[Let Xie Xinglan obtain a body.]

Xie Chi’s pupils shrank slightly. For some reasons, Xie Chi never exposed the existence of Xie Xinglan to the public. This app not only knew about Xie Xinglan but also knew his wish.

So it had really found him?

Xie Chi’s lips curved. He immediately looked down.

Option 2:

[As Pet 1.0, kill the owner who bought you.]

Xie Chi stared at option two for a while. As if unpleasant memories were evoked, his expression gradually became cold.

Pet 1.0, it was a long ago name. How long had it been since someone called him this? Even such a distant and gloomy desire could be revealed. This app seemed omnipotent.

There was another line of black text.

[Your desires are pure so there are only two options.]

Xie Chi didn’t hesitate and chose option one.

[Measuring the value of your wish. Please wait a minute.]

[The wish ‘Let Xie Xinglan obtain a body’ will cost 1w points. Is it confirmed?] (w = 10,000)

Xie Chi had no concept of the value of 1w points and directly pressed ‘confirm.’

[Actor Xie Chi’s wish has been filled out and the registration is successful. Please wait, our death designer is designing a death method in case the transaction fails.]

Death designer? Then the previous real-world ‘accidental deaths’ were all deaths by him? Xie Chi raised his eyebrows with great interest. As he waited, he lit a cigarette and leaned against the wall while smoking idly.

A few minutes later, a picture appeared on Xie Chi’s mobile phone screen.

At the bottom of the picture, Xie Chi had fallen in a pool of blood and blood kept flowing from the back of his head. At the top of the picture was a roaring truck. This should be the truck that caused the accident. The green paint was covered with blood, the red and green looking extremely depressing. The picture was perspective. A dark shadow lay on the back of the truck driver. According to the picture, it should be a ghost. Notice that there was an empty alcohol bottle lying in the front passenger seat.

The photo’s message put together was this: a ghost-controlled drunk truck driver killed Xie Chi.

Then the result of Xie Chi’s failed deal was a car accident.

For Xie Chi, this picture was really unsightly and had no beauty apart from completely giving the information. It was a blasphemy to such a great thing as death. Moreover, the death designer was extremely mediocre and this accident was still sloppy. Xie Chi thought about the previous designs of being killed by a falling light and a mad dog and couldn’t help feeling like he was choking.

Xie Chi closed the picture in an expressionless manner. If he didn’t see it then it wasn’t clear.

The black letters finally continued.

[Actors should reliably survive a real horror movie, explore the plot and please the ‘audience’ to earn points and achieve your wish. The detailed rules and explanations will be sent to your app background later. Please pay attention and check it. If in doubt, consult your agent.]

Survive a horror movie and explore the plot? In addition, an agent?

…It was kind of interesting.

Xie Chi smiled and didn’t ignore the word ‘audience’ in this sentence.

[An agent has been randomly assigned and this agent has been automatically added as a friend.]

[It must be noted that from now on, don’t attempt to artificially damage your phone. The consequences will be the same as the picture just sent to you by the death designer.]

[Please tap the screen to select the novice forced horror movie. If you don’t tap anything for 30 seconds, it will automatically be selected.]

Three identical black cards packs appeared on the screen. Xie Chi casually picked and the card pack was opened. It was a green card with the words ‘Spirit in Red Clothes’. The background was all black with a red dress suspended in mid-air in the centre and a pair of well-arranged red heels underneath.

[Congratulations on your selection of the rough quality deciphering movie ‘Spirit in Red Clothes’.]

A deciphering ghost movie? Xie Chi was surprised.

For professional reasons, Xie Chi watched horror movies and accumulated materials. He knew a lot about the classification of horror movies.

The direction of the decipher was different from no-solution horror movies. A ‘curse’ was something typically unsolved in horror movies. Ghosts didn’t pay attention to cause and effect. They killed whoever depending on their mood. There were no rules to speak of and people’s actions were in vain.

Deciphering ghost movies generally had a reason for the ghost being born. For example, a schoolgirl was bullied on campus and turned into a ghost after committing suicide by jumping off a building. In deciphering ghost movies, the targets killed by ghosts were generally special.

There was a saying ‘for every grievance, someone is responsible. For every debt, there is a debtor.’ Those who did harm during their lives would receive retaliation after death. Of course, others would still be affected but a deciphering movie was essentially different from the horror movies with no solution.

Another point was that as long as you found the source of the ghost’s birth, you could find a way to resolve grievances and survive.

In a no-solution horror movies, daily killings occurred because the curse had no solution and would always exist. It wasn’t helpful even if you found the source of the ghost because you would still die.

Thus, Spirit in Red Clothes being a deciphering ghost movie was good news, proving that this movie had a way out. The quality was also ‘rough’ so the difficulty shouldn’t be too high. It was suitable for novices.

Xie Chi glanced at the other two open card packs, both of which were green. One was a rough quality version of a haunted house and the other was a rough quality death cycle film These were the more popular types of movies in the current movie market.

The app loaded for a while and the introduction of the horror movie Spirit in Red Clothes popped up.

[There is a large company in the suburbs of City B. Every year, there is a Ghost Festival (on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month) where the boss will give all employees seven days off and then pay a sky-high salary to hire a few temporary workers to maintain the basic operation of the company. However, with no exception, these temporary workers have a… miserable end. The Ghost Festival is approaching again and a new batch of temporary workers has been hired.]

[You will play one of the newly hired temporary workers and explore the company’s hidden secrets.]

[Being transferred, please wait.]

The scene in front of Xie Chi’s eyes started to distort and fade away. Once he opened his eyes again, he found himself standing in front of a luxurious corporate building.


The author has something to say:

Xie Xingyi: Cohabitation relationship.

Jiang Hua who didn’t get it at all.

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amyes
amyes
1 year ago

Rereading!!

NeroLotus
NeroLotus
1 year ago

« And they were roommates » 🥰🥰

ctomes
ctomes
1 year ago

MC seems so calm and ready for this challenge. I would freak out if I was suddenly transported somewhere, I wonder if they know more than has been revealed.
Thanks for the translation!

yel
yel
1 year ago

this is quite unique and intriguing. the mc and ml in the same body, can be considered as the same person, but actually different personality. i wonder how will they interact? does one have to be ‘asleep’ in order for the other personality to be ‘awake’? but if that’s the case, interaction would be difficult. i’m so excited to find out!!

ae
ae
4 months ago

first chapter and it’s already exciting and very intriguing. i was actually tempted to try this because of the trope of sharing a body. although i have a rough idea about personality disorder, i’m still quite confuse about how they will interact since if i can remember correctly, it’s not easy to switch… anyway, i’m very excited for this plus IT’S HORROR 🎉 thank u for translating this story !!

Yoshi K
Yoshi K
3 months ago

Ah this seems intriguing and I love MC’s attitude. He doesn’t know what will happen but he’s prepared and genre-savvy. I wonder how many scenarios there are gonna be. The others only disappeared for a few days, indicating one scenario but I imagine there’ll be more…

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